Leave race out of it.

Tari Trott, a writer for The Royal Gazette who, according to a profile on facebook by the same name, is black and whose friend’s list is dominated by various prominent PLP politicians noted in an article in today’s paper that blogger Jonathan Starling, who was specifically pointed out as being a white supporter and member of the PLP, was recently critical of Premier Brown’s escapades at the Playboy Mansion.

The above outlines an example of one of my biggest pet peeves when race is unnecessarily brought into the picture to stir up controversy, especially when it comes on top of one of my other pet peeves of making it more about the messenger than the message.  Today’s article in the Royal Gazette is a great example of the same thing occurring. 

PLP supporter and blogger Jonathan Starling has jumped on the bandwagon of those criticising [sic] Premier Ewart Brown’s decision to use taxpayers’ money to sponsor a celebrity poker tournament at the Playboy Mansion.

Mr. Starling’s Tuesday commentary on his ‘Catch a fire’ web site labels the Premier’s decision a “scandal” while calling it “embarrassing” and “shameful.

Mr. Starling, who is white, is known for taking conflicting political positions. He has also been a vocal critic of The Royal Gazette.

Why is it necessary to specifically point out that Mr. Starling is white especially when no explanation is given as to why the knowledge of his race adds to the story?  Further, why is this article seemingly focuses more on Mr. Starling than on the message he portrays?  Also, why is the leader of the opposition quoted alongside his comments rather than PLP sources being contacted to give alternative viewpoints either alongside or contrary to what Mr. Starling suggests.   By quoting the opposition leader alongside Mr. Starling does it not give the impression that he is more aligned to the UBP than the PLP which is completely false?  Now, it would be easy for me to go into a large diatribe analyzing the supposed race of the writer of this article and their supposed political connections and proclaiming this as evidence of specifically utilizing the paper to go after Mr. Starling for having voiced his opinion, which happened to be critical of the party, but I’m not going to do that because that’d be attacking the messenger rather than the message, and would be making wild assumptions of bias that may well be unfounded, wouldn’t it?

Getting back on the issue of race, it really bothers me when the race of people is specifically pointed out when it barely relates to the context.  Even more so it is bothersome that it is incredibly rare for a white person to be specifically pointed out as white while far less rare for the same to happen for a black person.  It reminds me of the far too often circumstance where a paper conveniently and far more regularly points out the blackness of an individual in the context where it is better left out.  Such as:

Mr. X, who is black, did something that has nothing to do with his race but we feel like it’s worth pointing it out just so you’re clear that he was black because even though white people do it to, we want to be certain you knew it was a black person who did it…

It severely bothers me when the papers choose to do this and is one of the large reasons why I can relate to those who feel that the Royal Gazette maintains an bias towards whites.  Race, for the most part, should be left out of it unless clear explanations are given as to why race is a factor in the issue.

When getting into bias by the papers this recent article raises a whole new spectrum of means to look at the situation.  This recent article either could clearly be displaying a reverse bias or could simply be attempting to stir up controversy in order to sell more papers.  Who really knows what the real intentions are.  What it does come down to is that, regardless of black or white, the paper would do itself a great favour in avoiding criticism and attacks if it were to leave race out of it when it does not have a clear bearing on the subject matter.  That, and focus on the message far more than the messenger.

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8 thoughts on “Leave race out of it.

  1. Hello Denis.
    The problem with race is that it is a completely imaginary method of classifying your fellow humans. Scientists long ago abandoned the concept, at least the reputable ones did. If people use the terms, as inaccurate and insulting as they might be, they refuse to see the other persons humanity. I personally, as someone who has mixed heritage and a blended family, find the whole concept insulting.
    Over forty years ago Dr. King admonished everyone to judge people on the content of their character. People who persist in using the fallacy of race to justify their opinions are the ones lacking in character. The Arabs have a great proverb for this , “Examine what is said, not he who speaks”. Perhaps we all should adopt that tenet.
    Pax.

  2. Hey Denis,
    Just wanted to thank you for the thoughts there. I really appreciate it, and, quite frankly you hit on a few things much more eloquently than I could have. Thank you.
    Jonathan Starlin

  3. “The Arabs have a great proverb for this , “Examine what is said, not he who speaks”
    i have many jewish friends – so i must ask, is that posting a joke?

  4. Of course the posting is not a joke. I too have friends from both the Arab and Jewish communities, and before you slander either one or the other by your obvious lack of knowledge about how things have transpired in the Middle East, I suggest you do some research from many alternate sources.
    Only narrow minded bigots are unable to learn from other cultures. Would you discount the teachings of Confucius or Sun-Tzu because of the human rights abuses in China? How about the Pan African movement discounted because of the unrest on the Continent?
    There is a good book describing everything from the Zionist movement in the late 19th century through to the late 20th century troubles, all about the creation of the Israeli state, and the swing from acceptance and encouragement from the Arab world to hostility, and some of the reasons behind it all. Unfortunately, the title escapes me at present. I will repost if I remember.
    Suffice to say, NEITHER side is right in their current approach as it concerns Israel.
    Islam means peace, after all. Much of that is lost in the current “fundamentalists” that wrap themselves in the trappings of the religion but are not true followers. The same is true of many “Christians”, or any other “religious” group one can think of. Just because some espouse SOME of the beliefs doesn’t make them representative of a religion, or any group for that matter.
    Again, it’s the toolbox with just the hammer, so every problem looks like a nail.

  5. Mea Culpa. Denis is absolutely right. The story breached our Code of Practice which states:
    “Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.” (The full code is available on our website).
    An acknowledgement and apology will run in tomorrow’s newspaper.
    Bill Zuill
    Editor
    The Royal Gazette

  6. “Mea Culpa. Denis is absolutely right. The story breached our Code of Practice which states:
    “Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.” (The full code is available on our website).
    An acknowledgement and apology will run in tomorrow’s newspaper.
    Bill Zuill
    Editor
    The Royal Gazette”
    that’s the funniest thing i’ve ever heard – bill zuill is a racist in spite of what he says – ask tari (who has since left the rg)
    dennis i must ask u – i’ve lived in the uk, the us and canada – yet bda seems to be the only place where whites feel that they are the victims and that the blks are the racists – why is that – honestly – is bda just blessed to have such a swell group of whites?

  7. Vanz,
    It is disappointing that even on a post dedicated specifically to the topic of addressing the message rather than shooting the messenger, you still choose do so.
    I’ve also lived in Canada and my feeling is that perhaps you should get out and meet more people. I found that many young white males in Canadian universities felt disadvantaged by the fact that the majority of the best post graduate positions went to non-Canadians due to the fact that they paid more.
    Regarding racism itself, it is not limited to just black people. The contempt with which you address whites in Bermuda is disappointing and yet not surprising.
    People, of any and all races deserve to be treated and respected as people. To do otherwise justifies the injustices that occured in the past.

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